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Man says DWI law 'discriminates against alcoholics'

A man from Texas was facing DWI charges, and he used a rather unusual defense. He claimed the law itself discriminated against people who were, medically speaking, alcoholics.

The man is 65 years old. His argument was essentially that while the 0.08 blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit may work for most people, it didn't really tell authorities when an alcoholic is actually impaired.

Due to the high level of consistent alcohol use, he claimed individuals like himself were able to function properly even when they had a high BAC. Therefore, he felt like he could drive safely and that the law discriminated against him. He also pointed out that alcoholism is a disease.

His appeal did not hold up, though perhaps not for the reasons that you'd expect. The court simply noted that there was a lack of evidence. For instance, he mentioned studies that established alcoholism as a disease, but he did not produce any documentation from those studies.

He also did not come to court armed with evidence that he was technically an alcoholic himself. As such, even if he was correct about the discrimination, he did not effectively show that it applied to him.

The man has at least three DWIs on his record with this most recent conviction. He got a fine of $1,000, and he'll have to spend four years in prison.

Whether or not you believe the man's argument had merit, this case does a very good job of showing why it's so important to gather proper evidence before a court case. You must know your legal options and exactly what steps you need to take before you arrive in court.

Source: KSAT, "SA man claims Texas' legal alcohol limit 'unfairly discriminates against alcoholics' in DWI appeal," Mariah Medina, Feb. 12, 2018

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